13 scary-good horror games you need to play now
13 scary-good horror games you need to play now
This is the best time of the year to sip pumpkin spiced lattes, go apple picking and play horror games. During Halloween’s spooky season, sit down with a spine-tingling nightmare, a story where a girl escapes through your computer to haunt you or run from some animatronic beasts hungry for blood. Between speeding away from villains or lightly traversing some dimly lit streets, here’s a whole ensemble of games that are horror lite or heavy on jump scares. There’s something wicked this way comes for just about anyone with a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch or gaming PC — depending on how much you can handle.
Even though Control is technically billed as an action-adventure game, it has elements of horror. From Remedy Entertainment, the game explores phenomena that violate the laws of reality. As the player, you collect items that strengthen your power while navigating a mysterious building. The gameplay includes telekinetic abilities that feel truly fun coupled with a controller’s vibrations as well as the more familiar utility of a gun. Nominated for Game of the Year by many critics, Control feels sleek, spooky and well made. If you haven’t picked it up before, it’s one of the games you shouldn’t miss. It has well-crafted storytelling, and it’s not as scary as the other titles on this list, so it’s a good way to dip your toe into deadlier waters.
The Last of Us Part 2
The PlayStation-exclusive The Last of Us Part 2 was such a hit that rival console maker Xbox studied it for business insights. In The Last of Us Part 2, you can control multiple characters in a complex emotional drama. The game not only challenged people’s expectations for how deep and striking video game storytelling can go, but it also builds upon an already successful and beloved franchise. If you’ve seen the record-smashing HBO series at all, it’s a perfect Halloween segue into trying the game out for yourself. The game also served us queer representation and a touching kiss alongside a healthy helping of zombie gore and pandemic malaise.
Resident Evil Village
You can pick up this game in service of understanding the Lady Dimitrescu costumes Resident Evil Village has spawned. Or you can simply try it for the compact series of boss fights and levels this eighth installment of the Resident Evil series has to offer. From the ghastly foods of Village to a menacing giant baby, there are horrors to experience around every corner. You’ll need the mettle to handle all the grotesque jump scares and the stress of not having enough bullets to take down your fearsome foes.
Doki Doki Literature Club
At first glance, Doki Doki Literature Club is a deceivingly cute game from 2017 — but don’t be fooled. This title comes with plenty of content warnings. Things take a dark turn quite quickly after you attend the after-school literature club, as the game’s central cast of charming women undergo sinister plot points that I won’t divulge for the sake of spoilers. This independent game has a cult following and has become beloved for its iconic characters and mind-breaking surprises. It’s the perfect game to try if you enjoy Japanese anime and have the stomach for some psychologically damaging material. If you play it, you’ll also be in the know if you ever go to anime conventions and see people wearing merchandise from Doki Doki.
Want to hunt ghosts with a group of friends? Phasmophobia is a game best enjoyed with up to five players, where you enter haunted houses to seek out spirits. You won’t get any weapons to truly do any harm, but you’re armed with candles, salt, radar and other ways to contact and track down these ghosts. If you find yourself with a few hours to devote to internet buddies, this is a frightening and ideal way to spend the time. There are in-game voice channels so you can talk to your teammates — and ghosts — directly.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
With the new movie just hitting theaters and streaming on Peacock, more people are sure to be intrigued about this somewhat niche series of horror games popularized by online content creators. In the games, you play as a security guard defending yourself against murderous animatronic characters who terrorize a pizzeria, your place of employment. Along the way, you uncover clues and learn more about the backstories of these characters through playing minigames and listening to voice recordings.
From Taiwanese studio Red Candle Games, Devotion explores the unhealthy and toxic dynamic between parents and their children when they place too high expectations and are overbearing. But it’s done in an artful, blood-curdling way that brings players to multiple ornate landscapes, through pointing and clicking on puzzles and exploring parts of Taiwan throughout the past couple of decades. The gameplay varies dramatically from portion to portion in this uniquely built game, and at one point, you even get to walk through a storybook.
Parents are so devoted to their children, that should be a good thing, right? Devotion highlights the pitfalls of this obsession and need for control while telling a riveting and concise story. You may also remember Devotion for drawing ire from Chinese fans because the developers once included a joke about Chinese president Xi Jinping inside — and then apologized and said it was an accident. The kerfuffle got the game delisted from PC games store Steam, but it’s still available on the developer website for download.
Before Devotion, there was Detention. Red Candle Games’ debut title takes you on a history lesson through 1960s Taiwan, which was going through a culling of communist elements at the time. One of the intriguing qualities of Red Candle Games is that the games bring Taiwanese culture to the forefront in a landscape that has historically ignored this minority group. Detention was also adapted into a 2019 Netflix film. Supernatural Chinese folklore ingredients are sprinkled in with schoolgirl gore and unpredictable chaos.
What Remains of Edith Finch
Short and sweet is a running theme on this list. Here’s a game that took me about three hours to power through. In What Remains of Edith Finch, you play as the eponymous character who is returning to your home after seven years. Everyone is dead, and it’s your job to figure out how they perished. Each family member has their own story, and the game developer, Giant Sparrow, tightly weaves these narratives into a whole.
In just a few hours, the game covers so much ground, and like the inventive twists of some of these other titles listed above, it offers players a lot of variety in gameplay, including a level where you chop fish on the job. These unique charms have kept fans hooked, years after its initial launch. I streamed the entire game on Amazon’s livestreaming platform, Twitch, and drew some loyal fans of Edith to watch, even though I didn’t have a large built-in audience. The game was enough of a draw, even to viewers who had already seen its machinations.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan
In Man of Medan, you get the classic quick-time events of a PlayStation exclusive combined with a ghostly tale on a ship. You can’t trust your senses in this exploratory game where you venture across parts of the boat, solving mysteries and collecting clues. I enjoyed playing this one with a friend as we got immersed in the multi-chapter story as an evening unfolded. We screamed out which choice we thought the character should make and, intriguingly enough, her choice led the character to die dramatically, while my rather unconventional decision would have kept the person alive. To solve the mystery, you have to get all the way to the end, and it’s a nail-biting caper that will have you on the edge of your seat.
From Supermassive Games, the creators of Man of Medan, Until Dawn is the 2015 classic interactive survival horror drama that started a big trend. In the game, choices really matter, and depending on what you do, characters will live or die. You won’t see every ending in a single playthrough, so you’re going to have to replay often. On a remote mountain lodge, characters reunite after the shocking events of the start, where some of their beloved friends have died. Now they must face off against villains and classic perils familiar to horror film fans in hopes of making it to dawn alive.
If you like cringe and camp, The Quarry — which is also made by Supermassive — may be up your alley. Starring recognizable actors such as Brenda Song, The Quarry straddles the line between teen slasher drama and horrific supernatural adventure. Depending on your choices, characters at a summer camp may or may not survive in the same way Until Dawn works. The dialogue is absolutely corny and the sense of humor may be unexpected, but there’s certainly a special charm to The Quarry that at least its loyal fan base can appreciate.
Is Zombie Frontier 4 free to play?
Yes, Zombie Frontier 4 is free to download and play, allowing you to experience the adrenaline-pumping zombie-slaying action without any upfront cost.
Are there different game modes in Zombie Frontier 4?
Yes, Zombie Frontier 4 offers various game modes, including a campaign mode with challenging missions, boss battles, and an exciting multiplayer mode to team up with other players.
Are there regular updates and events in Zombie Frontier 4?
Stay engaged with regular updates that introduce new content, weapons, and exciting events to keep the gameplay fresh and dynamic.